Heart of Darkness Things Fall Apart Comparative
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart both illustrate different ways of presenting Africa in literature. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad shows Africa through the eyes the White European Men, who depict the African natives as "savage". In response to his portrayal of Africans, Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart in the point of the view of the natives, namely Okwonko the protagonist, to show the natives not as primitive, but as members of structured society. Things Fall Apart follows Okwonko as he strives for fame in his community. When the European missionaries come to Umuofia, Okonkwo tries to protect the culture that the missionaries would destroy trying to “civilize” the natives. However his mentality and violent behavior has the opposite of its intended effect, furthering the stereotype of the wild African in the eyes of the Europeans. European prejudice against Africans is present in Heart of Darkness. When traveling through the Congo, Marlow, describes the natives as "savages", and compares them to animals of the jungle itself. In one case, Marlow discovers the death pit, he describes the men saying "Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees, leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth… in all attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair… they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation… One of these creatures rose to his hands and knees and went off on all fours towards the river to drink." He compares them to "shadows" and "unearthly creatures", shapes hardly distinguishable from another, not as men. This goes along with the stereotype that all Africans are the same, with non-descript characteristics, unlike the detailed characteristics of the Europeans. In addition, the way the man crawls on hands and knees to the river to drink is animal like. To Marlow, the Africans are inhuman. Whereas the man crawls to drink from...
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